Should I quit my job to start my business?
If you’re asking that question, it tells me you may not have clarity on exactly what you DO want and you probably SHOULD NOT quit your job. Because if you ARE clear on the alternative you’d probably have already quit. I know that sounds a bit blunt but let me explain with my own example - because it’s really a more wholistic question.
For me, the last ‘job’ I had was in the police service and I actually loved my job. It was challenging, exciting, I was part of a great team and for me it was extremely rewarding in the sense it was a very practical way of giving back to my local community. But I still quit. Why? Well I still remember the moment I made this decision…
It was somewhere around midnight one night shift and I was wrestling a suspect into handcuffs and as I finally ratcheted the cuffs in place and ‘guided’ him into the police van I suddenly had this thought about my family at home and realised that in a few months when our daughter was due to be born, I’d have a whole new priority in my life. One that did not involve me locking up bad guys at all hours of the night. Sure it’s still a valuable service but I wanted to be more physically present for my family when it mattered and with kids that probably meant ’midnight or later! … and if you’ve got kids you’ll know I was right on the money with this prediction!
And so it wasn’t about quitting because I hated it, it was quitting because I wanted something else MORE. The something else I wanted was to be home for my family to support raising our children.
So by the time our daughter was born I had done what any responsible parent would do and had become ‘unemployed’ and had all the leverage in the world to make my first two businesses work. And FAST.
The reason I tell you this story is that quitting because you hate your job is not enough to make it in starting your business. If you think you’re going to succeed in your online business just by freeing up the time away from your work you’re probably mistaken.
What you DO need is a REASON to make your business work and that is in many cases irrelevant to quitting or not quitting your job.
So what about the practicality of it all?
Well in my case I had also earned the right to risk an upfront start as my wife and I had saved enough money and made certain lifestyle choices that meant we could literally afford the risk of the business taking more than 12 months to make any money at all.
For example, we’d chosen to live in a house that was ‘nice’ but also far cheaper than what we could ‘afford’. So we’d chosen to ‘save’ more of our savings rather than put it all into our living expenses and housing.
But what if you don’t have the runway?
Well in that case I’d sooner see you keep your job and quit OTHER things to make time for your business. Here are three ideas about making your online business work BEFORE you quit your job.
1. Start by quitting somewhere else. What is it you spend your time doing that you could QUIT first? Most likely the answers lie in recreation or social activities. I’m not saying stop doing these things completely, but I think a lot of us have lost touch with how much recreation we really need. If the business you're starting doesn’t EXCITE you and recharge you in itself then you’re going to struggle whether or not you have another ‘job’. So look at your calendar ruthlessly and you may just find you already have all the time you need to just make a start.
2. Get excited about the possibilities of your new business. You’re going to be in the honeymoon period of business and nothing is too hard. Take advantage of this and hustle in the hours you have when you’re NOT at work. If you have the RIGHT idea then you’ll find the time even WITH your job in the background. Plus if you’ve followed step 1 you’ll have even more time to hustle.
3. If you’ve eliminated certain activities from your schedule, you might find you’re already saving a little extra money. Step 3 is to take this further and come up with a savings plan to build your own ‘runway’ and create what I call your entrepreneurial safety net. For example, enough money to live off for at least 6 months. This financial plan will give you increased confidence to go ahead and go full time with your new business once you gain some traction.
Ultimately what this will lead to is being forced to quit your job because you just don’t have time for it anymore! So it won’t be about running away from your job - but rather running TOWARDS your dreams and building on the momentum you built when you started your online business on the side.
Matt Phillips is on a mission to help others make the same transformation he made to a life of freedom and contribution enabled through building profitable and fulfilling online businesses.